Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation: Grants for STEM Education

OVERVIEW: The Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic branch of its namesake law firm, supports education in the inner-city communities in which the firm has a presence.

IP TAKE: This foundation prioritizes established, continuing grantees with its biggest grants, or “relationship grants.” However, it is more flexible when it comes to funding smaller Community Grants. Both of these funding areas include a number of STEM projects.

PROFILE: The Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation is the philanthropic branch of Brown Rudnick LLC, an international law firm focused on business law. The foundation seeks “to make grants which bring energy and interest of Brown Rudnick volunteers together with opportunities and resources to create positive social change” and prioritizes “inner-city education in Boston, Providence, Hartford, New York, Washington, D.C., Orange County and London (UK).” Brown Rudnick does its grantmaking through both its Relationship Grants and Community Grants programs.

The Relationship Grants program funds multi-year grants but also provides employee volunteer hours and pro bono legal services—a relationship more significant than a one-time grant. Relationship Grants are more often awarded to 501(c)(3)s than directly to school districts or individual schools. Despite the entrenched relationships built into these grants, the Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation does have an open LOI process for them, with applications due early in the year. Past grantees can be found on the Relationship Grants Recipients page.

For grantees whose STEM project is classroom based, or whose needs are for a specific one-time program and a modest amount of funding, the foundation’s Community Grants provide a better opportunity. These smaller $2,000 grants are intended to benefit those on the “Front Line” of education. Grants given through this program can either be directed by a school or classroom teacher, or otherwise by a 501(c)(3) that is partnering with a school to “recognize, encourage and collaborate with the front-line workers within the educational system who often do not have a voice in funding decisions.” Past grantees can be found on the foundation’s Community Grant Past Recipients list.

The Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation has shown that it is open to the types of subjects and activities it funds—as well as how those funds will be used—so long as the project is a classroom-driven, one-time project (rather than ongoing programming).